Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Three friends of Lewis Katz, all from South Jersey, also perished in the crash

Anne Brennan Leeds (from left), Marcella Dalsey and Susan Asbell were aboard the plane that crashed, killing Lewis Katz and everyone else. All three women were from South Jersey and they were active in nonprofits and social causes.
Anne Brennan Leeds (from left), Marcella Dalsey and Susan Asbell were aboard the plane that crashed, killing Lewis Katz and everyone else. All three women were from South Jersey and they were active in nonprofits and social causes.
Anne Brennan Leeds (from left), Marcella Dalsey and Susan Asbell were aboard the plane that crashed, killing Lewis Katz and everyone else. All three women were from South Jersey and they were active in nonprofits and social causes. Gallery: Three friends of Lewis Katz, all from South Jersey, also perished in the crash

The jet crash that killed Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and three crew members Saturday night at Hanscom Field, about 20 miles northwest of Boston, also claimed the lives of three local community-minded people. 

Marcella M. Dalsey, 59, of Haddonfield.

She was executive director of the Drew A. Katz Foundation and president of the KATZ Academy Charter School, which she cofounded in 2012 with Lewis Katz. Dalsey also worked at Interstate Outdoor Advertising, a Cherry Hill billboard company founded by Katz and run by his son, Drew.

Dalsey, a mother of four, worked in real estate investment before devoting her career to nonprofits.

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  • "She had such a passion for the work," said Bernadette Shanahan, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, where Dalsey served on the strategic planning committee. "She really wanted to see the kids get a good education and made sure they had food and came to a clean building."

    Shanahan spoke to Dalsey on Friday about a youth program. "She wanted to make sure there was a swimming program for the summer," said Shanahan.

    "Our hearts are broken," she added.

    Dalsey's charitable work extended to the Food Bank of South Jersey, Volunteers of America Delaware Valley, and Cooper University Hospital, among other causes.

    Among her lasting legacies is Gracie's Ice Cream Parlor in Haddonfield, the shop she opened in 1995.

    Susan K. Asbell, 68, of Cherry Hill and Margate.

    She was a member of the planning committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County. Last year, Asbell chaired the committee that organized the Tavistock Country Club celebration for Milford "Muff" Liss, a former club executive director who retired after 41 years.

    She also helped organize the club's annual pre-Thanksgiving meal for 300 to 400 families.

    "Susan twisted the arms of every major supermarket, every catering facility to produce free food, and organized friends from synagogues and churches to heat and serve it," said Ron Dubrow, a South Jersey accountant who was a good friend of both Lewis Katz and Asbell's. Katz's philanthropy helped create the club.

    "Lewis had the dollars and the dream," said Dubrow, "but she pushed everything along. . . . We lost two good friends, two incredible people for the community at large."

    A mother of two, Asbell was married to former Camden County Prosecutor Samuel Asbell.

    Anne B. Leeds, 74, of Longport.

    She was a longtime friend and neighbor of Lewis Katz, who owned a house directly across from hers on 36th Street.

    Her husband, James Leeds, is a Longport commissioner.

    Anne Leeds had been invited at the last minute Saturday to join Katz on the trip to Massachusetts, and her decision to go was very much in keeping with their long friendship, said Ted Leeds, her son.

    "Over the years, they had taken a lot of trips together; we really didn't even know where she was going yesterday," said Leeds, a Margate builder. "She was a good mother and grandmother, devoted to her family."

    Anne Leeds had a strong interest in education, and before retiring she had been a preschool teacher for 25 years at St. David's Nursery School in Wayne.

     


    Inquirer staff writers Michael Matza, Chris Mondics, and Claudia Vargas contributed to this article.

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